A Guide to Quilting Books
For over a decade, I’ve been collecting and reading all the quilt books I can afford to get my hands upon. What’s listed below are some of my favorite books in a variety of categories. This list is meant to give people a top-quality starting place if they are looking to explore a new genre or skill.
To keep things simple, I listed only one book in each category. That doesn’t mean that other books aren’t also near and dear to my heart. The comment section is always open on this page as I’m very curious to know what books other people have enjoyed. Let me, and other readers of this page know about your favorites!
My favorite book for beginning quilters is Beginner’s Guide to Quilting: 16 Projects to Learn to Quilt Paperback by Elizabeth Betts. The author gives clear, complete instructions, which are supported with fantastic photos and illustrations. A great tool for learning.
for improv piecing
Liberated Quiltmaking by Gwen Marston is a fantastic look at breaking out of the box with your quilts and making them in a freer, more personal way. In this book, Marston tips her hat to the vintage quilts she studied and learned from and then sends quilts rocketing into the future.
for improv piecing with a modern look
Quilt Improv: Incredible Quilts from Everyday Inspirations Paperback by Lucie Summers is my favorite of the batch of books that builds on Marston’s ideas and surrounds them with a more modern aesthetic. Summers’s writing has clarity, enthusiasm, and encouragement.
on modern quilting
This book is unlike any other quilting book I have encountered. Quilting with a Modern Slant: People, Patterns, and Techniques Inspiring the Modern Quilt Community by Rachel May covers the history of the modern quilt movement, looking at the people and the gathering places that gave rise to this new look in quilting. Clear, thorough, and even contains some great patterns!
for curved piecing
A Quilter’s Mixology: Shaking Up Curved Piecing by Angela Pingel covers everything you need to know about piecing curves with precision. The quilts, writing, and instructions are all lovely.
for foundation paper pieceing
Foundation paper piecing involves stitching fabric to a piece of paper. That piece of paper is marked with the lines of the image you’re creating and lets the quilter create tiny, intricate pictures out of fabric. It’s a challenge to learn at first because everything seems upside down and inside out. Playful Little Paper-Pieced Projects: 37 Graphic Designs & Tips from Top Modern Quilters makes the process clear and is filled with beautiful blocks.
for foundation paper piecing
For quilts that use foundation paper piecing to make precision blocks–think more traditional shapes, less cutesy designs–check out The Quilter’s Paper-Piecing Workbook by Elizabeth Dackson. This fantastic book shows quilts with a lot of appeal and teaches you how to make them!
for english paper piecing
English paper piecing is done by hand, as little bits of fabric are wrapped around thick papers and stitched to each other. Check out All Points Patchwork: English Paper Piecing beyond the Hexagon for Quilts & Small Projects Paperback by Diane Gilleland to learn this process and see all it’s possibilities.
The Appliqué Book: Traditional Techniques, Modern Style – 16 Quilt Projects Paperback by Casey York is an excellent collection of instructions and patterns. It covers machine and hand applique, reverse applique, broderie perse, and more.
for scrap quilting
Everyone I know who has this book, loves this book. It’s beautiful, peaceful, and filled with lovely quilts. Sunday Morning Quilts: 16 Modern Scrap Projects Sort, Store, and Use Every Last Bit of Your Treasured Fabrics by Amanda Jean Nyberg & Cheryl Arkison
for sampler quilts
This is by far my favorite book for sampler quilts. The author has created her own interesting, modern blocks and gives the readers a lot of fun ways to combine them. Patchwork City: 75 Innovative Blocks for the Modern Quilter 6 Sampler Quilts Paperback by Elizabeth Hartman
for free motion quilting
There are a number of top-quality books on free-motion quilting. I particularly like First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting Paperback by Christina Cameli as it starts from zero and helps you get your fundamentals right. Cameli is very warm and encouraging.
to make modern batik
I have fallen in love with making my own fabric. It makes my quilts so much more of an individual expression. This book covers the batik process and is truly inspiring. Color Your Cloth: A Quilter’s Guide to Dyeing and Patterning Fabric Paperback by Malka Dubrawsky
for dyeing fabric
This beautiful book covers a variety of techniques for dyeing cotton fabrics with procion dyes. Modern Color: An Illustrated Guide to Dyeing Fabric for Modern Quilts by Kim Eichler-Messmer also includes several beautiful patterns.
for altering fabrics
In Beyond Cotton: Making by Hand: Stamp, Print, Dye & Paint 18 Modern Mixed Media Sewing Projects Paperback, Krista Fleckenstein covers not only dye techniques but also stamping, painting and more. Learn to make your own fabric at home and pair it with leather, linen, and other substrates.
Three of My All-Time Favorites
This was the first book I ever found that contained several quilts I loved and wanted to make. If you haven’t ever looked inside, Denyse Schmidt Quilts: 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects, you should. Ten years after its publication, I still admire the work immensely.
Yoshiko Jinzenji’s style has had a major influence on me and my work. I bought this book in french before it was available in English. Check out Quilting Line and Color: Techniques and Designs for Abstract Quilts to see a master at her peak.
Carolyn Friedlander’s book Savor Each Stitch: Studio Quilting with Mindful Design is my favorite book to come out in recent years. Friedlander’s quilts are amazing and original and this book contains a ton of inspirational designs.
I am an Amazon affiliate and have linked to their store with affiliate links. This means that if you click through to their website and buy, I receive a small kickback, at no cost to you. While I appreciate your using my links, please don’t feel any obligation–if you can check these books out from your library or buy them from a local shop, that’s awesome!